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19 October 2016

SpiderCloud adds 3.5 GHz support to its enterprise small cells

SpiderCloud Wireless says it has developed the first small cell that supports LTE in licensed spectrum and the US’s CBRS band in 3.5 GHz. This will join the company’s Enterprise-RAN portfolio, which also embraces LTE-Unlicensed, WiFi and 3G, and is resold by Cisco and NEC, among others.

Since the 3.5 GHz band was opened up under the FCC’s innovative three-tier access system, it has been eyed as a potentially strong band for small cell expansion. Its relatively high frequency lends itself to indoor and short range deployments, and it has both unlicensed and licensed options.

SpiderCloud said it has completed interoperability testing with Federated Wireless’ Spectrum Access System (SAS). Federated Wireless, along with Google, Nokia, Intel, Qualcomm and Ruckus Wireless, launched the CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) Alliance in August to encourage an ecosystem for the US’s particular flavor of 3.5 GHz, which is commonly used in other parts of the world for fixed wireless and, increasingly, TD-LTE. However, in the US it has been a federal band, so spectrum sharing systems such as Federated’s SAS have been essential to protect existing users from interference.

The FCC opened 150 MHz of spectrum in the CBRS band for commercial use but is still working with the industry on precisely how SAS and Environmental Sensing Capabilities (ESC) will work.

SpiderCloud’s CBRS products will be ready for trials starting in the first quarter of 2017 and will be commercially available by the second half of that year. The dual-mode (licensed and CBRS) system enables MNOs and neutral host operators to build a footprint of CBRS small cells even before CBRS devices are widely available, said the firm, with the 3.5 GHz radios being turned on when the business case allows.

In February, SpiderCloud announced it was working with Verizon in a trial involving LTE-U.